Everyone has those songs that instantly induce a good vibe. Catchy melodies, catchy choruses and infectious dance hooks. Half the time, who even bothers to listen to what the lyrics actually say? It’s all about how good the music makes you feel, right?
Harmless enough, but sometimes performers will use the wrong direction technique, with cheerful and instantly pleasing sounds contrasting with subjects that don’t necessarily match the tone of the music they’re tuned to.
Sometimes it can do a job of conveying the meaning of a song in a metaphorical sense, adding a degree of irony and humor to a track. Other times it can be a confusing mix of lyrics and various references that only leave a listener confused.
These songs range from pieces that juxtapose conflicting tones of expression, deal with surprisingly serious subject matter, or contain lyrics that seem so totally at odds with the music they’re set to, it’s a wonder you’ve ever been able to feel joy at the track.
The phrase “never judge a book by its cover” perfectly sums up these seemingly upbeat songs that contain darker undertones hidden in their lyrics.
This 2000s take on psychedelic space rock was a favorite of the indie scene, back when sneakers, vibrant skinny jeans and people straightening their bangs were the ultimate sign of rebellion.
The world of MGMT was the light and carefree side of alternative rock, the place you turned to when you needed a break from the introspective tracks of Arcade Fire, or the hectic, rebellious energy of The Libertines or the first Arctic Monkeys.
But the synth-pop-infused track Time To Pretend was about something darker than the melody would imply.
MGMT wrote the song while still in college, and the lyrics were a disturbing exploration of the state of youth culture at that time, idolizing the hedonistic and romanticized ideas of the musicians’ often fleeting lifestyles. .
The lyrics detailed the imagined life trajectory of the two bandmates, after becoming successful rock stars. With references to forgetting friends and loved ones, taking heroin, cocaine bouts, a series of model wives, followed by the classic death of a rock star, s choking with vomit…
The song’s heavy subject matter was eloquently disguised in the carefree, spacey synth melodies, making it one of the defining anthems of late 2000s youth culture.